The Minnesota Vikings pulled off a mild surprise with the 43rd pick of the 2011 National Football League Draft, as they selected Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Rudolph was widely considered to be the best tight end available in this year's draft, and will be considered a nice bookend with Visanthe Shiancoe. Shiancoe and Rudolph will make an interesting tight end duo, as they can both be split out wide.
In 2010, Rudolph only played in six games with a hamstring injury, and finished the year with 28 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2009, he had some injury issues as well, catching 33 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns.
While the numbers don't look like much, Rudolph has a ton of physical talent. Measuring in at 6'6" and 265 pounds with good speed, he should create a lot of match-up problems for teams attempting to defend the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
Welcome to Minnesota, Kyle Rudolph!